Monroe plays a role in TV pilot

MONROE — This town got a taste of Tinseltown on Monday.

A production company was filming scenes for a TV pilot that is set to air in early 2015 on Amazon Prime’s streaming service. The show is titled “The Man in the High Castle.” It is based on a 1962 Hugo award-winning book of the same name by American sci-fi author Philip K. Dick.

The alternate-history novel tells the story daily life under a fascist regime 15 years after World War II. In the story, the Axis powers have won the war and are spying to collect intelligence against each other in the former U.S.

“It has quite a cult following,” Una Wirkebau-Hartt, director of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce, said of the novel. “The word on the street is people have been waiting for the book to be made into a movie.”

The TV show is part of Amazon’s third cycle of pilots. The filming in Monroe centered around the Lewis Street bridge over the Skykomish River. It was transformed into a border checkpoint with various props, including a watchtower and vintage military vehicles.

The production caused intermittent traffic delays along Highway 203 that started Monday morning and continued until mid-afternoon.

“We — we being the chamber and the city — know it was a huge inconvenience for some Monroe residents,” Wirkebau-Hartt said. “But it’s really exciting to have our neck of the woods featured in a big-budget show. Everyone should be excited about it.”

Alexa Davalos, an actress known for her work in the Hollywood film “Clash of the Titans” and the TV series “Mob City,” landed a starring role in the pilot. Sharing the spotlight is Luke Kleintank, an actor who has appeared in several TV series, including “Bones,” “Gossip Girl” and “The Young and the Restless.”

“A handful of people who were at the bridge recognized him,” Wirkebau-Hartt said of Kleintank.

After the crew wrapped work on the bridge, they moved to another location on Tualco Road. Props such as an old patrol car with “Missouri Autobahn Patrol” painted on it, above a swastika, and a vintage shipping truck were parked alongside the road. Several director chairs sat empty as the production crew prepared to shoot. There were two porta-potties labeled “VIP.”

Wirkebau-Hartt said she hopes Amazon will have success with the pilot so the TV crew will return to Monroe to shoot more episodes.

Amy Nile: 425-339-3192; Twitter: @AmyNileReports.

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